In the beautiful interior courtyard of Yamashiro Hollywood.

For a majority of my life, my family spent July 4th at San Marino’s Lacy Park or at my brother’s high-rise apartment in downtown LA. This year, however, my brother planned a surprise event and kept it secret until we hit the road. We were headed towards Hollywood, but I was genuinely in the dark about where we were going. We offered the Hollywood Bowl, Magic Castle, and Pantages Theater as guesses, but they were all followed by a shake of my brother’s head. When we pulled into the driveway for Yamashiro, we were thrilled!

Yamashiro is a gorgeous hilltop castle built as a replica of a palace located in mountains near Kyoto, Japan. Sitting 250 feet above Hollywood Boulevard, it provides a sweeping view of the entire Los Angeles region, from downtown all the way to the ocean. The Pagoda located on the premises was flown in from Japan and is currently the oldest structure in California. Now, Yamashiro operates as a restaurant that serves modern Japanese-influenced fare.

Glow-in-the-dark tonkotsu ramen!

While the views of the July 4th fireworks were special enough, the extra treat was trying a pop-up glow-in-the-dark ramen shop in a space that has never been opened to the public before! Hosted by Mobile Kitchen, the dinner was made up of ramen and cocktails illuminated by all-natural ingredients like quinine. While the quality of the food was alright at best (especially compared to the ramen you could get for a quarter of the price in LA), the whole experience of eating glow-in-the-dark food and absorbing the theatrics throw by their partner, Disco Dining, Club, was certainly unique. After dinner, we spent the next two hours enjoying the fireworks right outside Yamashiro’s front door, watching the beautiful lights in a 180 degree view.

Published on July 7th, 2019

Last updated on July 7th, 2019